I've been concerned about the toxins in plastic for several years but, now that I have a baby, I'm a lot more freaked out about them. Not only are there millions of plastic baby products (most of which are made in China, which does not have the best record when it comes to consumer safety) but my sweet, little, 8-month-old son also wants to put each and every one of them in his mouth! This does not seem like the the best combo to me...
So far, the hoopla has all centered around BPA (Bisphenol A), an organic compound that serves as a building block of several common plastics. Unfortunately, BPA also happens to be an endocrine disruptor which can mimic the body's own hormones (estrogen, specifically) and leads to negative health effects including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, and developmental problems. And, sadly, babies and kids are the most sensitive to its disruptive and harmful effects. Pretty scary stuff...
Although my husband and I ditched our Nalgene bottles in favor of stainless steel water bottles quite a few years back and I seek out BPA-free plastic products when I am buying, I knew there was more we could do to keep these nasty toxins out of our home.
One easy step I took recently was to invest in glass storage containers since the idea of toxic chemicals leaching into our food (and our baby's food) gives me the heebie jeebies. In addition to avoiding the toxic chemicals, there are a couple of other side benefits to using glass instead of plastic/Tupperware.
- Glass is easier to clean and more hygienic than plastic. Since glass does not degrade like plastic, your glass storage containers will not get stained by tomato sauce, nor will it retain food odors.
- You can heat food up directly in it in either a regular or microwave oven. Although I'm kind of anti-microwave, when I do use one, I always transfer my food out of the plastic container and into either glass or ceramic since heat causes plastic to break down and leach chemicals into your food more readily. You can also put tempered glass into the oven without needing to transfer it to another dish which saves time and washing.
- It's pretty! I love the look and feel of the glassware -- it's got a much nicer aesthetic than the crappy plastic that gets stained and pitted fairly quickly.
Some of these companies make containers with glass lids but most of the products you'll find have plastic tops, some of which use safer plastics (no BPA or PVC) but you should check to make sure when you buy.
I'd also recommend removing the plastic top before heating anything up, regardless of how "safe" the plastic is supposed to be as I suspect pretty soon we'll be hearing that all plastics leach toxic chemicals of one type or another.
- Anchor (plastic lids are BPA free)
- Kinetic Go Green Glassware (lids are silicon)
I recommend making this switch ASAP. The glassware will last a long time (longer than the plastic) and it will help to keep you and your family safe from the harmful effects of plastic as well as keeping a little more junk out of our landfills.
In case you missed the earlier entries in this series, see below for more ways to Green Your Kitchen.